Kevin Pietersen’s second successive century led England to a four-wicket victory over Pakistan and a series whitewash in the fourth and final one-day international in Dubai on Tuesday. Pietersen smashed 130 off 153 balls as England reached their target of 238 with four balls to spare. England overcame the early loss of in-form captain Alastair Cook to take partial revenge for their 3-0 defeat in the test series.
Pietersen’s ninth one-day international century lifted him level with England batting coach Graham Gooch on 28 hundreds for his country and confirmed the return to form of a player who struggled in one-day cricket last year. Pietersen,who struck two sixes and 12 fours,received good support from Craig Kieswetter,who made 43 in a fifth-wicket partnership of 109,was finally dismissed by Saeed Ajmal in the 49th over with just two runs needed for victory. Pietersen’s partnership with Kieswetter put England back on track after off spinner Saeed Ajmal reduced them to 68/4 with a double wicket strike in the 16th over.
It was England’s first whitewash of Pakistan in a limited-over series in 25 years. The result was unexpected given Pakistan beat England 3-0 in the test series and India beat England 5-0 in a recent ODI series.
Earlier, Asad Shafiq and Azhar Ali hit half centuries as Pakistan were bowled out for 237 in their allotted 50 overs. Shafiq made a 78-ball 65 for his sixth one-day fifty while Ali notched a 89-ball 58 for his first to help lift Pakistan from the early loss of opener Mohammad Hafeez (one) in the second over after they won the toss and elected to bat.
Skipper Misbah-ul Haq chipped in with a 52-ball 46 which included one four and a six. Shafiq,who hit six boundaries,repaired the early loss during his second wicket stand of 111 with Ali as Pakistan looked to salvage some pride after losing the first three matches.
England then pegged back Pakistan when paceman Tim Bresnan dismissed Shafiq off an inside edge and debutant left-arm spinner Danny Briggs accounted for Umar Akmal,who made 12. Paceman Jade Dernbach,who finished with 4-45,had Ali caught off a miscued drive by Eoin Morgan to leave Pakistan at 144-4 in the 34th over.
Brief scores: Pakistan 237 in 50 overs (Azhar Ali 58,Asad Shafiq 65; J Dernbach 4/45) vs England 241 for 6 in 49.2 overs (K Pietersen 130)